I support the lives of women around the nation and their entitlement to bodily autonomy, because I know that we thrive and our families thrive when we can properly care for ourselves and our families.
I support the lives of survivors of sexual assault, for whom we should provide compassionate care rather than sentencing to motherhood on account of punitive legislation that values a 25-day old (or even two day-old) cluster of cells more so than we do a twenty-five year-old woman, especially when the pregnancy is the result of a violent crime.
I am for the lives of women who want to become mothers but whose health precludes a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery, and thus who cannot carry their pregnancies to term.
I am for the lives of pregnant women seeking to obtain quality and affordable prenatal care, and who should not be denied access to health insurance because of the “preexisting condition” of having been pregnant. And I am for the soon-to-be babies who will benefit from their mothers having received that medical care, and will suffer in that absence.
I am for the lives of the millions of women served by Planned Parenthood, which apart from abortion services delivers access to invaluable contraceptive care, STD testing, and cancer screenings, because early detection is imperative. Moreover, with over half of Planned Parenthood patients relying on Medicaid and still many others being low-income, few alternatives exist for receiving quality women’s health services.
I am for the lives of the millions of women around the globe who will suffer as a consequence of the Trump Administration’s reinstatement of the global gag rule and its adverse consequences for a range of health services extending well beyond the domain of abortion.
I am for the lives of the millions all across this country who depend on quality, affordable health care, whether for preventive care or for the treatment of preexisting conditions, which 27% of Americans have and thus would be denied health care coverage in the absence of the Affordable Care Act. I am for the lives of those who have been able to access essential care through Medicaid, without which they would be unable to receive treatment, potentially dying as a consequence.
I am for the lives of the refugees fleeing war-torn countries in hope of a better life, in a nation where they can thrive away from the devastation and violence of their native land. As a nation of immigrants who preach about the American dream, I believe that while we can be a land of opportunity, such opportunities are rarely obtained through Horatio Alger stories, but rather through a collective commitment to our remembering our nation’s history, and an investment in helping people to rise up and contribute to our society.
I am for the lives of those who have committed crimes and for whom many other first-world nations would deem a life sentence to be a worthy punishment, rather than the death penalty. And I am for the lives of those who could have been better protected with tighter regulations on the sales and distribution of guns.
I am for the lives of all who drink the water and breathe the air on which we depend, and for which we require an Environmental Protection Agency to responsibly regulate rather than subject populations to dangerous and life-threatening toxins as we have seen in Flint, Michigan and beyond.
I am for life. But I am not simply for life until birth.
We could claim that the anti-abortion movement is motivated by hostility to abortion, but were that simply the case, they would support Planned Parenthood’s provision of contraception, which significantly obviates the need for the abortions that they abhor. Indeed, in 2010 alone, publicly funded family planning services helped women to prevent more than 2 million unintended pregnancies. We can claim that they are for the life of the unborn, but were that the case, they would invest in prenatal care to enable a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery (services also, incidentally, offered at Planned Parenthood).
We could claim that the anti-abortion movement is about protecting women’s health in the conducting of this procedure. Were that the case, they would not push TRAP laws that serve to ultimately restrict access to one of the safest medical procedures when it is done early and legally. Importantly, restricting abortion access does more to restrict access to medically safe abortions than it does to restrict access to the procedure more generally.
We could claim that attacks on Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) are grounded in simply different visions of how best to deliver quality and affordable healthcare to the broadest swath of the American public. Were that true, Republicans in Congress would not have voted in favor of stripping away health insurance absent a viable replacement plan that does not reduce the amount of coverage or the number of individuals covered.
Conservatives have opposed health care access for women and for mothers-to-be, thus severely compromising any credibility that they might have in making such claims as to the motivations underlying their attacks on women’s bodies, and on health care access more generally.
It is not an attack on abortion. It is an attack on women, and an attack on the poor or otherwise vulnerable.
With many counties relying heavily– or in some cases, exclusively – on Planned Parenthood as the safety-net health center providing contraceptive care and other basic services, and with many such individuals having incomes unable to support more expensive care (or the resources to travel farther for those services), by restricting support for this organization we relegate women (especially poor women) to second-class citizenship even in this nation that so often preaches language of equality.
With 20 million gaining health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and many benefitting from Medicaid expansion, by stripping away the Act we – while purportedly being pro-life – deny millions the ability to obtain reasonably priced and quality medical care that they gained under President Obama – medical care that could be life saving.
Those insisting on the rights of a fertilized egg while failing to protect the health or life of millions of women and children, preaching of “regulatory relief” and “personal responsibility,” and insisting on the necessity of reducing health care access are not pro-life. They are only pro-birth.
We cannot simply be a nation that fights for the right to simply be born, but rather must fight for the right to thrive once we are brought into the world. As a nation of immigrants and one that purportedly champions equality and opportunity, it is time that we practice what we preach and halt the rollback care that saves lives and enhances quality of life.
If it is true that we measure a society by how it treats its most vulnerable members, those pushing for this legislation have a lot to which they must answer in advance of the 2018 and 2020 elections.